Exploring the Brandscape, part 6: Discoveries from the message audit – In the open door of integrated marketing, consistency is key

Posted on Wednesday, April 14th, 2010 by Debbie Schallock under Conclusions, Integrated Marketing, Messaging, Research. Tags: , , , ,

When we align our marketing and communication across all of the units, audiences will better understand the kind of university UNCG is and what they (students, faculty, staff, donors, alumni, friends and community partners) have to gain by being connected to us.

But communicating with consistency is the key that unlocks the door to success, whether it be a successful recruiting trip, a successful grant request, or a successful community partnership.

The Message Subcommittee took a close look at the many kinds of marketing and communication materials we’re sharing with our audiences, studying the use and consistency (or not) of university identity and photography through a campus wide audit. Here is what we found:

  • At the upper level (university, divisional, schools), there is accurate use of the university identity. With regard to photography (visual presence of students, staff, faculty, activities, campus beauty on our marking and communication materials), upper level entities, which are assumed to be funded with budget and resources, were more consistent in their use of these elements. Photography also appeared to be professionally provided.
  • At the secondary level (departments and programs), usage of the identity becomes very mixed and inconsistent from the university level to the school level and down to the departmental/program level. For those units with presumably lower budget and resource allocations (typically secondary level), photography was inconsistent among all of these elements and less professional. (i.e. photos were taken by a staff or faculty member who is not a professional photographer.) In addition, at this level, the use of clip art was prevalent, as were photos of faces only (versus lifestyle and/or full body shots.)
  • Internal communications within the university had very little consistency. From this, we assumed that the importance and value of branding association is not seen as critical when speaking to our own internal audiences because they are already knowledgeable about UNCG. Where familiarity with the university existed, standards and consistency were missing.

Like the research and competitive audits, the message audit proved to be an important piece of IMSC work. This is especially true as we position ourselves to communicate more consistently to our internal and external audiences and help university units understand and utilize the strategic marketing and communication resources that will come in the near future.

By Lise Keller

Lise Keller is director of admissions